The Journal, Friday, 6/16

Hey Folks,

I’m adding this note late: I’ve decided to serialize my novella, Jobs Like That, over on the Writing in Public website at http://hstanbrough.com. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new installment is posted, drop by there and sign up for a free subscription. This thing is heavy on detail and grounding the reader in the scene. For genres, it’s heavy on action-adventure with a considerable chunk of romance tossed in.

Wow. When I got up, I started almost immediately working on the Writing in Public website. I enjoy doing that. It’s kind of a hobby. Now if I can figure out the new subscription plugin.

Anyway, I got so wrapped up in doing that, I almost decided this would be a nonwriting day. That will happen before too long, but I’d like to finish the novel first.

***

Sometimes I think I’ll never learn.

Y’know all that guff about the story slowing down, me taking a wrong turn, all of that?

Nope.

I tried to continue the story past the natural ending. That’s all it was. More on that below.

I started cycling through today, just finishing off what I did yesterday, and the ending flashed through, crystal clear. It was as if the characters were lined up in the back of my mind, their hands on their hips, all of them frowing and mouthing, “What are you doing, Harvey? Stop it!”

And here I am with another finished novella. That and a reminder that every book writes differently.

Revising Goals

Another realization came over me this morning. It’s been a day of realizations.

I set a goal at the beginning of the year to write at least one novel per month and to write 15 on the year.

Today that slapped me in the face. Hard.

The thought actually crossed my mind that I should “expand” my current WIP, which finished itself today, so it would be a novel.

But I don’t like that. It adds pressure, and it’s unnecessary. Plus, it would lead me to force something on my characters and my storylines, and I just don’t want to do that.

So I’m revising my goal instead. In fact, I think I mentioned this awhile back, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I’m doing it now.

I will write at least one long work per month (novel or novella) and 15 on the year. What the hey? It’s my goal anyway, right?

Today, and Writing

Worked on the new Writing in Public website for awhile this morning (a few hours). Finally to the Hovel at 8 a.m. and to the novel around 8:30.

So my writing day was over early, at around 11. Then putting the water on the yard, etc.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See “The Magic Bakery: An Epilog” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-an-epilog/. And I do recommend checking back and reading the comments on recent earlier posts.

Just as a little addendum to my post a couple days ago on word usage, there’s “The Bell Tolls for ‘Whom’” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/the-bell-tolls-for-whom/. Such fun!

And one more, again via The Passive Voice: “There’s No Such Thing As A Self-Published Author.” Despite her foolish and faulty claim (“The term implies that a person can successfully publish a book all alone, and that’s simply not true.), the author then sets that aside with “Creating a digital book today is rarely done by one person all alone.”

Um, “rarely” is not the same as “never” and it isn’t the same as “can’t.” But if that weren’t enough, the author (Beth Bacon) then dismisses herself as a professional when she writes that “…we perpetuate the myth that one person can do it all by themselves.” I mean, wow. Anyway, you can read the whole thing at http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2017/theres-no-such-thing-as-a-self-published-author/.

Fiction Words: 1378
Nonfiction Words: 400 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1778

Writing of Jobs Like That (June novella)

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087
Day 8…… 1113 words. Total words to date…… 17200
Day 9…… 1378 words. Total words to date…… 18578 (done)

Total fiction words for the month……… 45050
Total fiction words for the year………… 337957
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10850
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 100830
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 438787

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 568 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels or novellas)………………… 7 novels or novellas
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 4
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Wednesday, 6/14

Hey Folks,

I keep feeling like I need to take a day to create covers and promo docs for the last nine short stories I wrote. Then I need to distribute them and ship them off to BundleRabbit.

I’m ever aware that each day I wait is a day that story isn’t able to accumulate sales.

Usually I do all that stuff as I go, often the same day I write the story. But in the frenzy that was my recent writing in public challenge, I let it slip.

And just my mindset, when I get in the mood to create covers, it will be better to do them all one after the other.

So soon I’ll do that. But not today. Today I get to “novel” for awhile. (See the topic below.)

***

In the midst of everything going on — or actually not going on — with Job Corps, I got a Facebook message early this morning with some bad news. One of my heroic uncles (lifelong forest ranger, firefighter and so much more) is fading.

Depending on various factors back there, soon I’ll take a couple days to go see him or to attend the funeral. Part of life and living, but so much of it gets to be a drag after awhile. I know I’m confiding in the choir here.

Topic: Please, Don’t Be Ignorant

Or at least don’t put your ignorance on display.

Ignorance is not a “bad” quality. It just means a lack of knowledge.

But if you choose to be a writer, shouldn’t you at least try to learn everything you can about the language and word usage?

It seems to me we’ve entered an age in which many of us would rather sound cool than illustrate that we aren’t ignorant.

I’m talking about creating nouns of verbs and verbs of nouns and other word-usage anomalies where there’s no reason to. Other than wanting to sound cool.

I don’t mind, really. But it’s still annoying. And disappointing.

When I read the work of a favorite author and see, in narrative, phrases like “should of” instead of “should have” or “should’ve,” it doesn’t completely destroy the reading experience. But it mars it.

When I hear that a writer “journals” when what she means is “writes” or “keeps a journal” or “makes entries in a journal” I want to hurl chunks. I know, I know, but bear with me.

When I hear that someone “journals,” I wonder why nobody “diaries.”

And why doesn’t anyone “novel” or “short story” or “flash fiction” or “poem”?

“I can’t go tonight,” she said. “It would interrupt my journaling.”

Yeah? Well, I can’t go either. It would interrupt my “short storying” and maybe even my “noveling.”

In “Of Interest” today I feature an article by Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader.

In his article, he features an infographic that’s titled “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Book.” Perfectly legitimate, that.

But in the title of the article he wrote to showcase the infographic, Nate saw fit to change “Book” to “Read,” as in “The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read.”

Why?

The change doesn’t enhance the meaning of the title. It doesn’t make it more descriptive or more informative.

It only makes me wonder whether the author is actually ignorant, is trying too hard to be innovative, or is just lazy. (Lazy because “read” used as a noun is short for “reading experience,” which of course means “book.”)

I feel the same way when, in a work written for publication, I find “gift” used as a verb in place of the perfectly adequate “give” (or “gifted” for “gave” or “presented”).

And I feel the same way when I hear professionals use “likely” when they mean “probably.” Or when body parts are given human traits (“nose smelled” “legs raced” “eyes looked” “ears heard” etc.).

Contrary to what some folks believe, I don’t go around looking for instances where the writer’s ignorance is on display. I really don’t. Even when I edit.

I just read. Those instances of ignorance on display leap off the page at me and interrupt my reading.

And then I don’t buy anymore of that author’s work.

Food for thought.

Today, and Writing

Spent the first couple hours of the day playing with Facebook and then writing the stuff above. Cross-posted the topic to the ProWriters blog too.

Around 6:30, I went to the Hovel to “novel” for awhile. (This is fun.) As has become my habit in this book, I cycled back first, then wrote about 600 new words in a new chapter. Moving right along.

A good day of writing today. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

See you then.

Of Interest

See “D2D Partners with Findaway Voices to Provide an Alternative to ACX Starting 7/18/2017” (More Freedom and Control Over Your Audiobooks) at https://draft2digital.com/blog/d2d-partners-with-findaway-voices-to-provide-an-alternative-to-acx-starting-7182017/. Sounds like a really good opportunity.

Take with a grain of salt “Q & A with Peter Stampfel, Submissions Editor of DAW Books” at http://themetropolitan.metrostate.edu/issue/2016/12/005/. (Thanks, Ann!)

See “Infographic: The Ultimate Flowchart for Finding Your Next Read” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/13/infographic-ultimate-flowchart-finding-next-read/.

“Two Bundles With Two Novels” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/two-bundles-with-two-novels/. I have to admit, I’ve bought both of these bundles.

Fiction Words: 3462
Nonfiction Words: 870 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4332

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625
Day 7…… 3462 words. Total words to date…… 16087

Total fiction words for the month……… 42559
Total fiction words for the year………… 335466
Total nonfiction words for the month… 9800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 99780
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 435246

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 566 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Tuesday, 6/13

Hey Folks,

Topic: Foiled, Sort Of, By Technology

Well, I called off the challenge I extended earlier re writing in public. Thus far I haven’t found a WordPress plug-in that will email multiple postings per day from a blog to subscribers. Much less from multiple feeds.

As my friend Robert pointed out awhile back, writing in public is still writing in public even if nobody’s being notified or watching.

And I very much enjoyed my abbreviated effort earlier this month, so I still plan to do it again soon. I’ll keep you posted in case any of you want to follow along.

(If DWS was doing this, I’d follow along avidly, if only to pick up tips on how to do it.)

Anyway, while I was looking for the aforementioned plug-in, I realized the few who signed up have their own websites as well.

From a marketing standpoint — and really, isn’t everything about marketing? — it would be better for them if they post on their own blog so any readers will already be on-site to buy their books.

I know that sounds fickle and maybe a little lazy, but the fewer times a reader has to click to buy your books, the more likely they are to buy.

I hope everybody who’s reading this will dive into a challenge of your own. And if any of you happen to find a plug-in that will do what I outlined above, please share the info.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3:30 this a.m., and probably this is the last time I’m going to mention it.

Most mornings I browse emails and Facebook while waking up with my morning coffee.

Today, like yesterday, was an exception. I worked a bit on the new website from the time I got up. About an hour into that process, I realized it wouldn’t work the way I’d hoped.

At that point I called time of death. I emailed the few participants to let them know and offer some advice, then moved on to other things.

Around 6 I headed out to get the lawnmower. Chores this morning. Cool! Took only an hour to mow front back and west yards.

Now I’m resting up a bit and working on the new website a bit. Just playing, really. Biding my time as we have an appointment around 9:30 and don’t want to start anything serious before then.

After Mona’s doc appointment (she’s better than good, healthy as a healthy horse) I hit WalMart, then bought gas, then a new gas can (the old one is severely cracked, which I found out just after I’d filled it), then home to write.

I was writing along fine from about noon, but then Job Corps called with yet more requirements. Back to hurry up and wait.

And I still have to go back to pick up Mona from work, so I’ll have a better writing day tomorrow.

See you then.

Of Interest

“The Magic Bakery: Last Chapter” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-magic-bakery-last-chapter/.

Fiction Words: 1631
Nonfiction Words: 510 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2141

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994
Day 6…… 1631 words. Total words to date…… 12625

Total fiction words for the month……… 39097
Total fiction words for the year………… 332004
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 430914

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 565 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Monday, 6/12

Hey Folks,

Kind of a neat post over at Dean’s place today, about domain-name hoarding. I can relate.

I have domain names for all of my personas, some of my pseudonyms and some of my characters, like Wes Crowley. I have domain names for my own name, and also some for business names that I don’t want to risk losing. Go figure.

Just yesterday, as an afterthought, I looked up WritingInPublic.com.

Of course, it was already taken. It won’t make money for me anyway, so I didn’t bother finding out who owns it so I could make an offer to buy it.

But I suspect it’s Dean. (grin)

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 4 again. Started working on the new Writing in Public website and did that for the first 3+ hours.

Moved out to the Hovel around 8:30 and started on the novel. Some cycling back and a lot of new words. Around 10, up to the house for some iced tea.

Not a bad day of writing, but not great. Still, I’ll take it.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

“Amazon Releases Word Doc Templates…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/09/amazon-releases-word-doc-templates-making-better-pod-books/.

“Amazon Overhauls its Publishing Portal…” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/06/09/amazon-overhauls-publishing-portal-new-dashboard/.

Both of those are at The Digital Reader. If you don’t already subscribe, consider it at https://the-digital-reader.com/.

Dean’s “Domain Collecting” is interesting at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/domain-collecting/.

And just in case you’re interested, “Bob Dylan Rescues Literature From The Literary Set” at http://thefederalist.com/2017/06/12/bob-dylan-rescues-literature-literary-set/.

Fiction Words: 2825
Nonfiction Words: 240 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3065

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169
Day 5…… 2825 words. Total words to date…… 10994

Total fiction words for the month……… 37466
Total fiction words for the year………… 330373
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8420
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98400
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 428773

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 564 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Sunday, 6/11

Hey Folks,

Wow. Already had a few writers sign up for the upcoming Writing in Public Challenge. I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent.

Once I get the site put together, I’ll send out an email with log-in specifics, etc. If you’re interested, I recommend emailing me fairly soon.

There’s still room if anyone else wants to jump in. Remember, how you structure your own challenge will be completely up to you. The only requirement is that you post things so readers can read.

I also had an email asking whether it’s all right to share the invitation with a writers’ group or critique group.

Sorry, but no. Everyone’s welcome to follow along. It’s “writing in public,” after all. But please don’t share the invitation to participate.

However, if you want to share the invitation with a friend who’s also avid regarding the craft (so a pro or wants to be a pro), that’s fine.

For example, DWS doesn’t subscribe to this Journal. But if he emailed me and wanted to post his own challenge from my site, of course I’d sign him up.

Anyone can set a goal and embark on a challenge of this kind at any time on their own, and I encourage them to do so. But I have to limit participation on the website.

A Thought on Writers’ Groups

First, a disclaimer: Whatever works for you is fine. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

My personal take on writers’ groups (critique groups, etc.) is this:

I would kill, maybe literally, to meet regularly with a group of other professional writers and aspirants.

In that sort of “group,” the attendees would strive to contribute new information on what works and doesn’t work for them in the business and-or craft of writing.

Those are extremely rare because most pro writers and serious aspirants would rather stay home and write. That’s why I follow sites like those of DWS and Kris Rusch and J Conrath and Kevin Tumlinson and Robert J. McCarter and others.

Then there’s the TYPICAL writers’ group, of which there are hundreds.

In those, would-be writers gather, maybe share a meal, and listen to a speaker present a program during which he or she spouts the same tired old clichés regarding writing.

Uhh, No.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out late at just before 4. That was annoying, because I was wide awake at 2:30, but opted to sleep-in. Time is so precious, and I just tossed half a handful of it overboard.

I wrote all the stuff above and listened to the podcast mentioned in “Of Interest” below. I hope to write sometime today, but it’s Sunday. Maybe a lazy Sunday.

Moved out to the Hovel at around 10. I started working on the novel again, and noticed there was another short story in it.

I copied and pasted the excerpt to a new file, wrote a new opening (398 words) and now I have a new stand-alone short story. I love when that happens.

During the interim, my son left, headed north again, and before that he lost a screw out of his glasses. I had some extras, so I fixed them for him.

Around 1 or so I moved back to the house to write a little more on the novel. But it’s definitely a lazy Sunday.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

See Dean’s “A Couple of Fun Things” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-couple-of-fun-things/. If you don’t, you’ll miss a couple of important links. (grin)

Check Kevin Tumlinson’s site at http://kevintumlinson.com/. Check his Blog. Check his Podcasts. A lot of good stuff on his site. The segment with Dean begins at about 10 minutes into the WordsLinger podcast.

Fiction Words: 1933
Nonfiction Words: 600 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2533

Writing of “The Fight” (short story, derived from the novel)

Day 1…… 0398 words. Total words to date…… 2701 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… 6634
Day 4…… 1535 words. Total words to date…… 8169

Total fiction words for the month……… 34641
Total fiction words for the year………… 327548
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8180
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 98160
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 425708

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 563 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 176

The Journal, Saturday, 6/10

Hey Folks,

Yesterday I outlined how “writing in public” positively affected my writing. This morning, I had an exciting idea.

You already know I’m preparing a website for my next Writing in Public challenge. It should be good to go before July rolls in.

Those who are interested in reading stories or novels as they develop will subscribe. Then each post will be emailed to them as it’s posted.

I’ve decided to open that challenge to a few other writers. Here’s the nutshell:

  • Basically, you can write whatever you like and post as often as you like.
  • You’ll have your own log-in information and complete control over your part of the site.
  • The parameters of your challenge are completely up to you.
  • The one requirement is that you write “in public.” (Duh. Otherwise it would defeat the purpose of the site.)

If any of you would like to participate, email me to let me know and we’ll work out the details: harveystanbrough@gmail.com.

***

I mentioned yesterday that Bryan’s back in wait and see mode with Job Corps. We hope to hear something on Monday.

Topic: Story Starters (and some ways to come up with them)

(Note: This is excerpted from a post I wrote yesterday as an article for a regional writers’ group publication and for the Pro Writers blog. But it won’t post over there until early 2018. I didn’t include this topic in today’s nonfiction word count.)

There are two ways to start a story: with a story starter or with a story idea. Those are not quite the same thing, though they can be.

What I call a “story starter” is a seed, period.

It might be a line of dialogue or narrative that pops into your head. It might be you asking yourself “What if?”

It might be a philosophical thought or a photograph or event and the feeling or thought it evokes.

It might also be a story IDEA, the skeleton for the opening of your story.

The story idea is simpler to define. It’s a character with a problem in a setting. (The problem doesn’t have to be “the” conflict problem of the story.)

The story idea, if it occurs to you whole, can also be a story starter.

But the sole purpose of both the story starter and the story idea is to get you to the keyboard.

Or put in a slightly different way, the sole purpose of both the story starter and the story idea is to cause you to sit down, right now, put your fingers on the keyboard, and start typing.

So how do you come up with story starters?

The typical professional fiction writer would say, “How do you not?” But here are some specific ways that have worked for me.

First, prepare.

Open a new blank document or flip open your notebook and pull out a pen. I use Notepad. Don’t worry about formatting. It isn’t important right now.

Keep that document open on part of your computer screen (or on your lap). Then, in any order,

Browse Photos

Begin looking at photos one at a time.

These can be photos you took, photos you acquired from a stock agency, public domain photos or even photos you see in magazines, on Facebook or wherever.

If you choose a “found” photo — one other than your own or other than those you acquired from a stock agency — you can’t use it for a cover. But you can use it for whatever thought it evokes in your mind. The thought, not the photo, will become part of the actual publication.

Look at the photo and write down the first line that springs to mind. It might be narrative or dialogue. It might be a philosophical thought. That’s a story starter.

If nothing comes to mind, don’t dwell. Set it aside and move on to the next one.

Events

Whether recalling a memory or witnessing a live event, write down the first line that springs to mind. That’s a story starter.

Other Stories and Articles

Read. If you’re a writer, chances are you read.
Often a line from another story or novel will grab me. And often that becomes the basis for my own story or novel. (No, this isn’t plagiarism.)

Sometimes too, comments in a nonfiction article or a description in a travel article will move something in me. And become the basis for a story or novel.

You get the idea. Just read. And keep your pen and paper handy.

Titles

Sometimes a title will pop into my head. I have zero idea what the story will be, but I know what it will be about. Maybe even the general direction it will take.

DWS has a voluminous collection of old stories and novels. From those he makes lists of “half-titles.” He writes the first half of a title on one list and the last half on another.

When he’s stuck for a story starter, he’ll browse the list of half-titles, crash two of them together to form a new title, and start writing.

Most of us don’t own a large collection. But you can still go to your local bookstore (or Amazon) and browse titles, right?

You can even lift whole titles if you want (I don’t recommend this), as long as they aren’t trademarked. Titles can’t be copyrighted individually.

That’s just a few ways to come up with story starters. Once you get in the habit of exercising your idea muscle, you’ll come up with many more on your own.

In short, if you want to write, you can write.

1. Get an idea.
2. Sit down with your fingers on the keyboard.
3. Write whatever comes. Don’t edit. Don’t “fix.” Don’t think. Just write.
4. DON’T intentionally write sloppy copy. That’s bad training.

It really is that easy and that difficult. If you haven’t tried this yet, you’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 2 a.m. My son drove down from Flagstaff. He got here just before I got up, and went to bed soon after.

I wrote on the novel for a little while, then got caught up in the day and visiting.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Dean has a pretty informative post over at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/writing-a-novel-in-five-days-while-traveling-turned-in/, especially if you missed his posts on the topic. (He links to them and the resulting novel.)

I posted a few pics of a big range fire (the Dragoon Fire) near here on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/harvey.stanbrough.

Fiction Words: 1204
Nonfiction Words: 310 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1514

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… 1204 words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 32708
Total fiction words for the year………… 325615
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 97560
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 423175

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 562 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 175

The Journal, Thursday, 6/8

Hey Folks,

First, before I forget, awhile back the editor of a magazine in Mexico asked me to write a short story for her magazine.

I did and submitted it.

She loved it and asked permission to translate it. Of course, I said yes.

If you’re interested, here’s the link to the story in Spanish in the magazine EstePaís:

http://www.estepais.com/articulo.php?id=1057&t=ila-y-el-pinonero

I’d be happy to send a copy of the English original to anyone who wants it. Now, too, I can finally self-publish it. (grin)

A little personal stuff…

Well, my life roll is coming down to the end.

It will be a tense couple of days as we await some records from Indiana (supposedly mailed last week on Tuesday) and Roswell NM. Those will determine, in large part, my grandson’s future.

As an action-oriented kind of guy, I feel a little helpless when things are completely outside of my control. Especially when bureacrats are involved.

When I think of what set this excellent 22 year old boy on this path, and especially when I consider what kept him on this path — being prescribed drugs he didn’t need and those drugs creating the symptoms they were supposed to alleviate — I just wanna chew wheels and spit nails. In particular directions.

But as with all things in life, it simply is what it is and we’ll deal with it.

In the meantime, for now, we wait and hope Job Corps will happen for him.

Now to the escape of writing for awhile.

Topic: Day 8 of the Challenge

Overall, this challenge hasn’t been difficult at all. It hasn’t been easy — a challenge shouldn’t be easy — but it hasn’t been difficult either.

In fact, whether or not the life roll intervenes and ends the challenge prematurely, I will do this again, complete with the writing-in-public part.

The challenge thus far has been a matter of

1. Coming up with a story starter (for me that’s usually a line of descriptive or philosophical narrative or a line of dialogue);
2. dropping a character with a problem related to that line into a setting;
3. and writing. Oh, and every now and then,
4. telling my critical voice to sit down and shut up.

That fourth one is a matter of patience and persistence.

If a story beginning (opening) is boring me to death, I trash it and either move on to the next story starter (I’ve done that twice) or I start over.

More often, my critical voice tells me (on an opening that isn’t boring me) “this is not good” etc.

To overcome that, in every case, I remind myself that I won’t personally like every story I write. But that has no bearing on whether another reader will or won’t like it.

So I persist, follow it through to the end, and publish it.

And invariably, some reader pops up out of nowhere and tells me how wonderful is the story that I thought sucked canal water from all 50 states. (grin)

That’s some great validation and reinforcement for shutting out the critical voice. Just sayin’.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out just before 4. Spent the first hour-plus fully awake, sipping coffee and reading some great stuff, most of which I shared below in “Of Interest.”

Around 7 I sat down at my office desk and began writing.

Around 8:30 I moved to the Hovel.

With a couple of breaks, by 11 I had 2800 words on the story. No end in sight. (grin)

I wrote some more, then went to the PO to check for some records that were allegedly mailed from Indianapolis on May 30. Unfortunately, they still haven’t arrived.

Long talk with my wife and then my grandson. Around 2, finally back to the short story.

With everything going on, I forgot to post the new scenes after scene 2. I finished the story around 3.

Nothing on the novel again today.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

Some very good comments at Dean’s http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-bunch-of-things/#comments.

Also see Robert J McCarter’s posts on his challenge at http://robertjmccarter.com/2017/05/sswm-introduction/.

I’ve also added Mr. McCarter’s category “Short Story Marathon” to Writers’ Resources on my site, or you can see it at http://robertjmccarter.com/category/story-marathon/.

See “10 Tools That Help Me Sell More Ebooks” at https://www.kseniaanske.com/blog/2017/6/4/10-tools-that-help-me-sell-more-books/.

Fiction Words: 4507
Nonfiction Words: 720 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 5227

Writing of “Adele and the Makers” (Story 8 for June)

Day 1…… 4507 words. Total words to date…… 4507 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 31504
Total fiction words for the year………… 324411
Total nonfiction words for the month… 5560
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 95540
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 419951

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 560 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 175

The Journal, Wednesday, 6/7

Hey Folks,

Not a lot to report today.

Topic: Day 7 of the Challenge

Well, the challenge is rolling along. I feel like I’m settling into this thing.

By that I mean I’m not frantic, “worrying” about coming up with story ideas, etc.

The conscious, critical mind repeatedly attacks in various ways. But once I recognize it for what it is and set it aside, I’m able to get back to writing.

Today’s story went really well and really quickly. In a little over 2 hours of writing time, I hit the end at something over 2700 words.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 3 and spent the first few hours doing nothing but Facebook and email stuff. Put on a load of laundry (the first of two) and headed to the Hovel around 6:30.

Finally around 7:20 I started the story for the day. It’s a gangster thing from the gangster’s POV. Interesting.

With a couple of breaks to check and fold and put away laundry, I finished the story at around 11:30 and posted the whole thing (two very long scenes) to The June Challenge page on my website.

Off for a bit to change gears, and I hope to add some to the novel today.

Nothing on the novel again today. Job Corps and other stuff on my mind.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

You might get something out of “When I Worked in Advertising” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/2017/06/when-i-worked-in-advertising/. I stopped reading at “In one of the 16 or so drafts of my new book,…”

Fiction Words: 2738
Nonfiction Words: 260 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 2998

Writing of “What Happened That Day” (Story 7 for June)

Day 1…… 2738 words. Total words to date…… 2738 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 26997
Total fiction words for the year………… 319904
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4840
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 94820
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 414724

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 559 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 174

Trust Your Subconscious Creative Mind

Hi Folks,

Every writer I know at one time or another has said (to me or to others while I was eavesdropping) that they want to develop their own unique voice.

“I have to say it my way,” they’ll say. “I don’t want it to sound like anyone else.”

I’ve even known writers who refuse to read works by other writers in the chosen genre because they’re afraid the other writers’ “style” will taint their own.

It won’t taint anything. I will inform and improve, but it won’t taint.

And weirdly, then those same writers will think nothing of rewriting a story, sometimes several times, to “polish” it. To make it sound exactly like someone else’s work. Amazing.

They don’t understand. What a writer starts with the first time she writes a story is her own, unique voice. What she ends up with after all that so-called polishing is a bit of tripe that reads exactly like everything else in the genre, only not good.

Know why it isn’t as good? Because most of those professional writers didn’t rewrite their work to death.

That’s right. They didn’t polish their unique voice off of it.

Again, if you want to find your unique voice, Trust Your Subconscious. It’s been making up stories and telling them since long before you even knew the alphabet.

But wait. I know. Your voice sounds boring to you, doesn’t it?

Know what? That’s because it’s with you 24/7/365.

To other people, your voice sounds unique. Think about that. You know it’s right.

So trust it. Your subconscious knows a great deal more about telling a good story than your conscious mind does.

Your conscious mind is a guard. You use it to learn, and you use it to keep you from doing stupid things like swimming with sharks and leaning your palm on a hot burner and stepping off a 1,000 foot drop.

Even Bradbury said “Nobody’s ever thought their way to anything in literature.”

Your conscious mind exists solely to safeguard you. It won’t allow you to do or say (or write) things that are outside accepted norms. If that’s all right with you, fine.

But think about that for a moment.

You already have nothing to say that hasn’t be said before, and if you are ruled by your conscious, critical mind, you can’t even say it in an original way.

Good luck with that. Frankly, if it were me, I’d throw away my writing stuff and go sell Earth shoes or something.

Happy writing,

Harvey

The Journal, Tuesday, 6/6

Hey Folks,

Well, just last night I was saying I might as well stay up later and get up at a more normal time. The staying up later part isn’t that difficult, but the other is much easier said than done.

That’s all right.

Easing into the day today. As I write this it’s almost 9 and I’ve done nothing relative to writing.

I did go to the grocery early. I like to get there when nobody’s parking their cart sideways in the aisle or backing up in front of me without looking or otherwise pretending there’s nobody on Earth but him or her.

Kind of annoyed about my challenge. I didn’t think it through quite thoroughly enough.

You know that life roll I’ve mentioned here a few times? That will end sometime this coming weekend or early the next week, one way or another.

Bryan’s time with me is coming to a close. He’ll either go to Job Corps this week (they’re mulling over some things) or he’ll move to NM to visit his uncle.

If the former, no worries. I’ll drive him into Tucson and send him into his future. If the latter, I’ll probably have to drive to northwest NM. That will all but kill the challenge. For this time.

So we’ll just have to wait and see.

Topic: Day 6 of the Challenge

I didn’t brainstorm any new story ideas last night as I had planned. But I eased into today, so it’ll be all right.

I mentioned above that the challenge might end prematurely sometime between three days and a week from now. That’s out of my control, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

But I’m already thinking of the next one, especially if this one doesn’t work.

If I do this challenge again, the “writing in public” aspect will take center stage.

Probably I’ll open a new website (I own several). I’ll advertise the snot out of it, and then I’ll take subscriptions. Those who want to read the stories scene-by-scene as they progress will subscribe to them.

Probably it will still be free, with donations accepted. But this way the stories will go to a group of folks who are dedicated to seeing them. Or at least dedicated enough to subscribe.

I’ll write each story a scene at a time, and then I’ll post each scene, as it’s finished, to that “blog.” Each scene will be emailed automatically to those who subscribe, and then the whole story will be posted to the website on its own page.

Yep, I like it.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out at 2:30. Did pretty much nothing most of the early morning, then went to the grocery at around 5:30.

Home and put stuff away around an hour later, then a quick English-muffin and cheese breakfast.

Saw my wife off to work at 8:30, then came here to write some of the stuff above.

Finally to the Hovel around 9. I wrote the topic, and now I’m gonna cast about for a story starter.

Around 10 I hit on a story idea and started writing.

Around 11 I went up to the house for lunch, then took a phone call from a good friend.

A little after noon, back to the story.

1 p.m. to the post office and maybe (if necessary) to Benson.

Around 3:30 I finished the story. It flowed really well when I had time to work on it.

Nothing on the novel today. I need to get a handle on this stuff.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

A pretty good post on rebranding (with examples) with “A Fun Series” at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-fun-series/.

And a friend reminded me to remind all of you, if you need EXCELLENT print or ebook formatting or covers at extremely reasonable prices, visit Cover to Upload at https://covertoupload.com/.

Fiction Words: 3258
Nonfiction Words: 650 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3908

Writing of “Incident in a Cantina” (Story 6 for June)

Day 1…… 3258 words. Total words to date…… 3258 (done)

Writing of June Novel

Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 24295
Total fiction words for the year………… 317166
Total nonfiction words for the month… 4580
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 94560
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 411726

The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 558 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 173